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Slashback: Dry Mars, Wet Doc, Keyboard Teaser 159

Slashback tonight brings some corrections, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including a possible release date for the long awaited Optimus keyboard, yet another extension in the Blackberry court case, lakebed theory on Mars possibly all wet, US-CERT statistics perhaps not all they are cracked up to be, stem cell investigation reveals papers were faked, the FTC objects to the Netflix settlement, and a new Crossover Office fixes the WMF exploit among other things. Read on for details.

Optimus keyboard may have a real release date? Jacket writes to tell us that the much talked about Optimus keyboard has a suggestive message on their website. With "Good things come in small packages February 1, 2006" could it be possible that this holy grail (for some) keyboard could be available in our near future?

Yet another delay for Blackberry court case. ahsile writes " is reporting that 'NTP Inc., the company suing Research in Motion Ltd over the Blackberry e-mail service, wants more time to respond to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's preliminary rejections of its patents.'

Lakebed theory on Mars all wet? Sensible Clod writes "The Meridiani Planum region on Mars, long believed to have been covered with water millions of years ago, may not have been so wet after all, according to a new study from the University of Colorado at Boulder. From the article: 'The new study indicates chemical signatures in the bedrock, evidence for widespread, intermittent water at Mars' surface, may have instead been created by the reaction of sulfur-bearing steam vapors moving up through volcanic ash deposits. Known as Meridiani Planum, the region may have been more geologically similar to volcanic regions in parts of North America, Hawaii or Europe.'"

US-CERT statistics not all they are cracked up to be? jtshaw writes "Tectonic has an interesting article about the latest US-CERT stats. The actual vulnerabilities for a hand full of OS's after wading through the data: Microsoft Windows - 44, Apple Mac OS X - 21, IBM AIX - 21, HP-UX - 15, SCO Unix - 9, Red Hat Linux - 7, Suse Linux - 12, Debian Linux - 10, Gentoo Linux - 5, FreeBSD - 13, NetBSD - 2. It appears to me that commercial unix systems and open source *nix systems did pretty well compared to Windows on the vulnerability front."

Stem cell papers, confirmed fakes. An anonymous reader writes "The committee created to investigate stem cell researcher Hwang Woo Suk has confirmed that his first and second papers were faked. 'dashing hopes that his work is a breakthrough in treatments for diabetes and Parkinson's disease. [...] The panel backed Hwang's claim that he cloned the world's first dog.'"

FTC objects to Netflix settlement. AtariDatacenter writes "Although some question the validity of a recent lawsuit against Netflix, many users were up in arms about the terms of the settlement, which seemed like more of a marketing gimmick. Today, we learned that The Federal Trade Commission agreed, and asked the judge to reject the terms of the settlement."

New Crossover Office fixes,among other things, WMF exploit. ubuntuincleelum writes "Just on the heels of the announcement of new WMF security vulnerabilities Codeweavers is releasing Crossover Office 5.0.1. A bugfix release, this release features a fix for the original WMF bug. Among the changes in this release: Improved support for Gnome, improvements in Debian packaging and improvements in general for operability on Debian and Debian Derivatives."

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Slashback: Dry Mars, Wet Doc, Keyboard Teaser

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Optimus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shaka ( 13165 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @10:13PM (#14450917)
    My first serious note is; Why hasn't Apple jumped on this like stink-on-poo. This seems like an item that would be right up their alley.

    My thoughts exactly. I must admit I'm a bit frustrated that even geeks who like the idea of this keyboard doesn't seem to view it as more than a cute toy. I think it might revolutionize human-computer interaction (I explain this in more detail below). Imagine the new Mac Book Pro with a keyboard like this, and application support in every Apple application...

    Scenario: Using `less`, the left and right keys are dimmed while the up arrow is red (indicating that you're at the top of the document) and the down arrow is flashing green with a number (indicating the number of rows remain in the document.) As you scroll down, the remaining lines decrease.

    While this is cute (and I would love it), it's not good enough.

    Scenario: When you point your mouse at a text-input area (such as the one I'm typing in right now), the keyboard is a regular keyboard with a few cool shortcuts. When you're done typing, and click at the browser area (in which you can't type), it all changes. Suddenly, keys are instead shortcuts to Reload, Back, Home, this type of stuff. The "/" key is a magnifying glass, and when you press it, you get your regular keyboard to indicate that you can enter text to search in the page.

    While surfing, the Email-key on your keyboard starts pulsating with an envelope, indicating that new mail has arrived (Biff in your keyboard baby!). You switch focus to your MUA, and the keyboard buttons transform into icons for Reply, Forward, Write new, Next unread message... You reply to the new message, and voilà, there's your regular keys again.

    When you're done, the IM key starts blinking... Well, you get my drift.

    So, what does this change in your UI? Well, for starters, we can finally get rid of all these space hogging, most often ugly, shortcut tool-/buttonbars. All of this functionality will instead be available in the keyboard. Learning shortcuts in a new application will be a breeze - the first times you're using it, the keys show what they mean, and after a while, you have it in your fingers and can make all keys turn black, effectively cloning the Das Keyboard []... ;)

    The real action, of course, happens in applications with heavy use of shortcuts, such as Photoshop, Word, Eclipse and other IDEs, and the ruler of them all: Emacs! Imagine pressing Alt, then Meta, then Ctrl... While the keys are updated to reflect their current functionality!

    Again, people view this as cute; I view it as a potential user interface revolution in the hands of someone like Apple (or preferably Gnome!).

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard